American Children's Orchestras for Peace

Basic Information

Address: 2150 Coral Way, Suite 3-C, Miami, Florida 33145
Phone Number: 305 285 2303
Director: Ms. Maida Santander

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Additional Information

Causes Served: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Bands & Ensembles, Children & Youth, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Youth Development Programs
Background Check: Yes
Population Served: Children facing adversity in underprivileged communities ages 7-13
Ages for Volunteer: 18 and up
Hours of Service: 3pm-7:30pm
Minimum Hours Required: .5
Days of Service: Monday-Friday
Mission Statement:

Mission Statement: to create for our children, through music, an environment free from violence. Vision Statement: By developing specific musical programs we will provide our children with alternatives to the cycle of poverty and hopelessness that so often leads to violence. We involve the general community in these musical programs through free concerts at schools, parks and other institutions in various neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade. Disadvantaged children, typically low income and/or disabled, receive free individual music education and participate in full orchestra concerts. ACOP is based on an internationally acclaimed format proven to increase academics, cognitive skills and self-esteem.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

ACOP provided children with alternatives to the cycle of poverty and hopelessness which often leads to violence. This year-round program is designed to provide instruments and free lessons to underserved, at-risk, & disable children in Miami-Dade County, using music to improve individual achievement, social skills, parental involvement, and ultimately - children's lives.

Program History:

The American Children's Orchestras for Peace, Inc. (ACOP) is a 501 (C) (3) non- profit organization founded in 2001 by Ms. Maida Santander, Dr. Rafael Diaz-Yoserev and Dr. Michael Nobel.

ACOP’s provides a musical program dedicated to high standards of student musical performance. ACOP strives to create an exciting, challenging and rewarding musical environment that allows children to flourish. Our music lessons meet the highest standards in music education, utilizing proven evidence-based methodologies and curriculums materials.

As proven by research, music instruction improves all core academic skills, cognitive skills, and self-esteem, especially in disadvantaged youth. These are protective factors that are essential to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness that often leads to juvenile violence and low achievement in high-risk youth.

ACOP music directors and instructors must have a degree in music or music education and prior experience with teaching music to children.. ACOP also employs individuals with superior computer and data management experience to track enrollment, attendance, evaluation data as to add logistical support to the planning and implementation of program events (e.g., children’s concerts, field trips, etc.) Experienced staff ensure ongoing, open lines of communication with parents, program site personnel, site coordinators, directors and instructors, etc.


ACOP’s Music Festival ‘Children for Peace’ is one of the most visible successes of the program. Parents, Children and supporters all come out in large number. The Music Festival is a showcase for the children to shine. This extraordinary event signifies the peace and friendship between children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. ACOP's Music Festival is held thanks to the generosity of The Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation, where all the ACOP orchestras from Little Havana, Overtown, Little Haiti etc. will compete against each other. All family members & the neighboring community are invited to attend. The Kiwanis also kindly provide presents to all children in our programs through their yearly “Kiwanis Christmas toy drive” event.

The Festival provides an opportunity for children to build cultural understanding and good will, regardless of social and economic barriers.

Additional Information:

"Finding funding, particularly in tough economic times has been especially difficult. In previous years, we have had 12 programs running, however due to the recession, we have had to cut down to eight. These are always the toughest decisions because of the heartbreak involved in accepting that there will be kids we will not reach. I also find ,targeting underprivileged and at risk children creates its own challenges. Parents are often under great stress to provide basics such as food and clothing for their children. I discovered that to reach the children effectively requires involving the parents and rewarding participation (for parents and children) with awards and incentives.

In addition, we created the support program 'Parents for ACOP' where mixed orchestras of parents, children and instructors take part in events. ACOP set out to serve the children and found along the way, that what we do creates and transforms entire communities.

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